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Jens Soering appeals to documentary makers

Any aspiring filmmakers want to help exonerate a geeky German guy with no legal options left, falsely convicted of murder in Virginia? In 1985, Jens Soering confessed to the murder of the parents of his American girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom. He claims he was madly in love and confessed to protect her. Since 1995, Jens' very detailed description of events and the flaws in the case against him have been posted on the internet along with the former Virginian deputy attorney-general's (now his lawyer) endorsement. Jens' personal site maintains a list of articles and books Jens has written in prison. Elizabeth also has her own column.
posted by zaebiz on Dec 29, 2006 - 28 comments

Auf Der Walz.

Since the Middle Ages, German craftsmen have gone 'auf der Walz' (taken to the road) as part of a kind of working-pilgrimage that artisans make after completing an apprenticeship with a master craftsman. These travels are meant to teach them about work and life and takes precisely three years and one day; they are not allowed to return home before this time. The trip can take these young craftsmen and women (all must be under the age of 30) halfway around the world (and often does) and they are allowed only a small rucksack. Other than that, they can bring along their uniform (a simple black and white affair that almost defies description), their tools, undergarments, a sleeping bag, a book and their trademark walking stick.

Although today this is a dying tradition, and is often more traditionally known as being a Journeyman today, it still exists and has inspired some to write about the strage travellers they see on the road. Indeed, perhaps the most famous work this tradition inspired is Australian poet Banjo Patterson, whose work Walzing Matilda is believed to have been inspired by this fascinating yet waning custom.
posted by Effigy2000 on Dec 14, 2006 - 28 comments

Naz(w)i(i)

In the wake of a school shooting in Germany, legislators want to lock up all who commit acts of violence . . . in video games.
posted by landis on Dec 12, 2006 - 36 comments

What a pratfall!

The Berlin District Court has ruled that Deutsche Bahn must rebuild whole sections of the new Hauptbahnhof according to the architect's plans, setting a spectacular precedent. Berlin's new main train station, the Hauptbahnhof, cuts a solitary figure in the surrounding wasteland as it awaits an urban development that will complement its ambition, aesthetics and vast dimensions. But the verdict pronounced by the Berlin District Court on Tuesday November 28 has brutally nipped this development process in the bud. The judges ruled that the German rail company Deutsche Bahn has unlawfully violated the intellectual property rights of the station's architect, Meinhard von Gerkan. The rail company must rebuild the station according to the architect's plans. The station opened in May this year after a 13-year construction period.
posted by parmanparman on Dec 4, 2006 - 41 comments

Projekt "Map"

Das Projekt "Map"
posted by Tlogmer on Dec 1, 2006 - 18 comments

The Leica Freedom Train

Everyone by now has heard the story of Oscar Schindler, but he wasn't the only one saving Jews in the dark era of WW II. This story was kept secret for many years, until the last member of the Leitz family died.
posted by pjern on Nov 10, 2006 - 21 comments

newly translated interview with prominent WW II German Sculptor

The Monumental is My Sickness: a newly translated 1979 interview with German sculptor Arno Breker. Extremely revealing about art, memory, Nazism, and the troubling life story of "Hitler's Favourite Sculptor". For context, read this critical review of a recent exhibition of Breker's work. More Arno Breker resources, including many photos: (in French); the museum of Arno Breker (in German); Wikipedia entry. via
posted by Rumple on Nov 6, 2006 - 5 comments

Umdenken

Useful German Products
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Oct 21, 2006 - 28 comments

so far left they're...neocon?

Strange Bedfellows: Radical Leftists for Bush Among the German far-left, one subgroup called the anti-Germans holds some contradictory views. Most call themselves communists, yet loudly proclaim their support for Israel and George W. Bush.
posted by telstar on Aug 25, 2006 - 29 comments

whatever you do, don't mention the war

Winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature, a peace activist who opposed reunification for fear Germany might once again war against its neighbors, ghost-writer of Willy Brandt's speeches, author of the great fabulist history of World War II and postwar Germany, The Tin Drum, and of My Century, a novel of one hundred chapters, one for each year of the last century, a man considered part of the artistic movement known in German as "Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung" or "coming to terms with the past", Günter Grass belatedly admits the history he expunged from his personal narrative: his service as a member of the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg of the Waffen-SS. In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Grass explained his service would stain him forever, but that only after the war did he feel ashamed of having been in the Waffen-SS:
for me, because I am sure of my recollection, the Waffen SS was nothing frightful, but rather an elite unit that they sent where things were hot, and which, as people said about it, had the heaviest losses.

posted by orthogonality on Aug 12, 2006 - 46 comments

Englandspiel - or 'Germany Game'

Secret agent Huub Lauwers was parachuted into occupied Holland in 1941 to relay intelligence back to London. His capture by the Germans marked the beginning of the Englandspiel, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse intelligence that cost the lives of over fifty agents. Lauwers frantically tried to inform the SOE that he had been caught, but the Baker Street Irregulars just didn't get it. Or did they? [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 6, 2006 - 16 comments

River Art

Ahmad Nadalian's work can be found all over the world. He is an artist that carves symbols on rocks and then leaves them at the site where they were created (sometimes burying them).
posted by tellurian on Aug 2, 2006 - 7 comments

Can't set up a snitch line? We're outta here.

"Workers were also told not to flirt with one another." After eight years of "fiasco", Wal-Mart bails on Germany.
posted by telstar on Jul 29, 2006 - 55 comments

Dropping Knowledge

On September 9th 2006, 112 of the world's writers, artists, activists, and social entrepeneurs (nominees here) will gather for a Table of Free Voices in Berlin, Germany, discussing questions about the important issues of today. Who provides those questions? You.
posted by divabat on Jul 24, 2006 - 6 comments

The price paid for working against evil, unafraid.

Mildred Fish Harnack was the only American woman executed for treason during World War II. Born, raised, and educated in Wisconsin, she moved to Berlin with her German husband Arvid in 1929. Arrested by the Nazis in September 1942 for their pivotal role in the Communist Red Orchestra resistance movement, they were tried in December 1942: Arvid was hung and Mildred received six years hard labor. Reviewing her case (during the humiliating German defeat at Stalingrad), Adolph Hitler ordered her retried in January 1943. This time, she was convicted, sentenced to death, and beheaded by guillotine in Plötzensee Prison on February 16, 1943.
[Mildred's life is detailed in the 2000 biography Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra.]
posted by cenoxo on Jul 24, 2006 - 10 comments

An unwelcome advance

Video: President Bush creeps out German Chancellor with unwelcome massage
posted by edverb on Jul 17, 2006 - 158 comments

Tor! Goal! Rete!

Two goals worth a million words. In Arabic, English, Chinese, Portuguese and yes, German. Italy's 2 goals against Germany, from 8 different commentators, one of them being Diego Maradona. Heavy YouTube usage unfortunately, although the post links to the leading Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera.
posted by keepoutofreach on Jul 6, 2006 - 26 comments

I have a rendezvous with Death, at some disputed barricade

90 years ago today, whistles blew around the river Somme in France as British troops prepared for an attack on German trenches. By the end of the day they had suffered 57,470 casualties. By the battle's end in November, there were over 600,000 Allied casualties, with perhaps the same number of German casualties. The Imperial War Museum has launched an online exhibition, where you can find out more about how the battle was planned, personal stories of those involved, and myths about the attack. Elsewhere you can find copies of Army reports on the first day, look at film of the attack, diaries and letters home from the troops, go on tours of the trenches, listen to contemporary songs and music inspired by the battle, and see some more modern responses.
posted by greycap on Jul 1, 2006 - 38 comments

Moritz Volz

Moritz Volz plays for Fulham and Germany- and he has a sense of humor.
posted by wfc123 on Jun 14, 2006 - 8 comments

"I wanted to direct Head-On with an unbiased mind."

Head-On is a riveting 2004 German film which garnered spirited praise and quite a large share of hype. The film went on to win numerous awards. Days after receiving the Golden Bear, some colorful information about the film's female lead broke in the German tabloids and led to a reaction from her traditional Turkish family nearly identical to actions of her eponymous character's parents in the movie. Is this simply a case of life imitating art, or perhaps an inevitable repercussion of casting someone who's life so closely coincides with that of her on screen persona?
posted by kaytwo on Jun 13, 2006 - 21 comments

Gooooooooooooooooooooooal!!!

Since the 1930s, only 16 teams have held the World Cup Trophy. In 10 days, the 2006 World Cup will begin. Pick your team, pick your jersey, then find your time.

Once the teams have all gone home, more than just the balls will have changed. The world will be saying goodbye to one of the greatest players of our generation. And this time its for real.
Here is a little something to put you in the mood (youtube).
posted by RobertFrost on May 30, 2006 - 148 comments

Nehmen Sie meine Frau, bitte!

Lost in translation. British Comedian Stewart Lee explores comedy in Germany and finds it stymied by the peculiarities of language and sentence construction. Mark Liberman at Language Log disagrees. And an extended essay by Josh Schonwald explores in greater depth how the German comedy scene is transitioning (PDF) from the more traditional kabernett to a burgeoning stand-up comedy scene, which is characterized by one observer as being in "the Bob Hope phase of comedy."
posted by madamjujujive on May 26, 2006 - 72 comments

Black Monk Time

The Monks
Formed in the early '60s by American G.I.s stationed in Germany. After their discharge, the group settled in Germany to concentrate on finding a unique sound, and soon began to shave their hair into Monk's tonsures and appear in cassocks. One of the truely original bands of the 60's, The Monks are now often refered to as 'proto-punk'. The Monks experimented fervently, developing a unqiue sound, with heavy bass, repetitive but amelodic rhythms, nursery rhyme style, yet powerful vocals and a good helping of feedback. They recorded only one albumn, Black Monk Time, until their 1999 reunion.
Hear some tracks from the albumn (in realmedia), See and hear The Monks Live in Germany, Also, check out Monks - The Transatlantic Feedback, a documentary (with trailer, though there seems to be something wrong with it). [Trivia: the song I Hate You can be heard in the background in one scene in the bowling alley in The Big Lebowski]
posted by MetaMonkey on Apr 21, 2006 - 24 comments

Threatened architecture

Postwar architecture of Berlin. Photographing architectural icons before they disappear. Some I kind of like. Some I don't. Others, I just don't know what they were thinking.
posted by tellurian on Apr 3, 2006 - 27 comments

He has cavorted naked with Charlotte Rampling [this is VERY NSFW] and covered himself in caviar for Marc Jacobs, but Jürgen Teller thinks "fashion is a wank". Teller's first solo show in Paris is entitled "Nurnberg", it consists of a sequence of images (annoying Flash site, sorry) taken at the infamous Zeppelintribune parade ground, site of Nazi propaganda rallies, which was designed by Hitler's favourite builder, Albert Speer. Over several months, Teller (.pdf) has photographed the monument, the podium and the steep, ruthless steps, all of which have been left to decay. Or not. "It wasn't really maintained, but if there was a broken step, or a smashed wall, it would be mysteriously replaced with a new one." Teller's photographs show the delicate weeds, flowers and lichen [NSFW] that have grown up around the stone blocks. "In Germany, there is a saying about letting the grass grow over things, meaning that events will eventually be forgotten".
posted by matteo on Mar 22, 2006 - 19 comments

Belsen was a gas.

Gas chamber art shut down. Santiago Sierra whose controversial work (some NSFW, auf Deutsch) had taken a turn toward the holocaust, has suspended his latest work in response to criticism.
posted by klangklangston on Mar 14, 2006 - 13 comments

The Dancing House

Weird buildings.
posted by angrybeaver on Feb 20, 2006 - 64 comments

From the Diary of Adam Czerniakow on the Eve of the Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto, 1942

"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box) responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto). On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av, the "saddest day in Jewish history" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans). Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom", edited by one of the most prominent Holocaust scholars, Raul Hilberg. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 17, 2006 - 23 comments

Is that "COD" as in the fish, or ... ?

(Knock, knock) "Candygram!" We don't know if ZDF has shown early SNL skits (nostalgic photo here), but German Greenpeace made a dramatic delivery to the Japanese Embassy in Berlin: a 55-foot-long fin whale that had been stranded in the Baltic. The dramatic gesture underscored the organization's contention that Japan's whaling, long defended as research, is in fact unnecessary: sufficient numbers of beached whales are available for research. The leviathan — 20 tonnes of blubber — was craned onto a truck and driven 150 miles from Rostock-Warnemünde to Berlin, and was due to be returned to the coast for study. (German-language stories on Greenpeace.de website here, here, and here, including logistical details for those curious about arranging their own special deliveries.)
posted by rob511 on Jan 22, 2006 - 12 comments

Information wants to be free.

Wikipedia wrangling once more: the entire German edition was shut down this week over the contents of a single entry. The parents of the article's subject, a German hacker who died in 1998 under mysterious circumstances, are displeased with his real name being disclosed in the encyclopedia. It is now back online; however, the future of the family's efforts is currently unclear, not only due to the German order's debatable validity in the US - but also because the order was, initially at least, mistakenly addressed to St. Petersburg, Russia, instead of St. Petersburg, Florida.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 20, 2006 - 18 comments

The Wilhelm Gustloff

On January 30, 1945, the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise ship packed full with refugees fleeing the Russian advance into Poland was sunk by a Russian submariane. Nearly 10,000 people died and it remains the world's worst single maritime disaster. Radio National's Late Night Live recently devoted a programme to this little-known tragedy. Well worth listening to (mp3).
posted by Huw on Jan 13, 2006 - 13 comments

Germany and the United States

A subjective comparison of Germany and the United States. A sober and interesting look at some of the differences between the two countries, written by a man who grew up in Germany and now lives and teaches in the United States. (via @rgumente)
posted by Ljubljana on Jan 13, 2006 - 62 comments

"Sieg whaaat?"

Everybody knows that gangsta rap promotes sexism, homophobia... and fascism. Take Bushido, for instance - the Berlin rapper of Tunisian descent that all the neo-Nazis love. Confused? (nyt) Well, so are the Germans. And then we're not even talking about Fler, whose "This is black-red-gold, hard and proud!" nationalist lyrics never fail to piss off the German papers (in German), and who likes to pose in his videos with a nice symbolic eagle. (Then again, Helmut Kohl didn't mind.) Still, Fler's flag-waving, eagle-loving rhymes are no match for Bushido's "Salute, stand to attention, I am the leader like 'A'". The A stands for Adolf, you know.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 12, 2006 - 28 comments

The same procedure as last year

A German New Year's ritual entirely in Enligsh. Enlighs. English.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen on Jan 1, 2006 - 32 comments

hübsche Fabrik

From the outside it's hard to guess this is a car factory. But then again, even from the inside the parquet floors and lack of shelves may have thrown you off. Welcome to VW's Incredible Glass Factory.
posted by furtive on Dec 24, 2005 - 16 comments

Asymmetric Aircraft

Asymmetric airplanes may look weird, but the idea isn't just for the luftwaffe anymore: Burt Rutan has done one too. Not counter-intuitive enough for you? How about an asymmetric helicopter?
posted by phrontist on Dec 13, 2005 - 17 comments

Bush administration admits denies making mistake!

Bush administration admits denies making mistake! Starts off new relationship with conservative German chancellor by personally insulting her. "We are not quite sure what was in her head." - a senior Bush administration official, referring to Merkel. This after Condoleeza Rice gave Merkel private assurances and made a public statement in which she said "when and if mistakes are made, we work very hard and as quickly as possible to rectify them. Any policy will sometimes have mistakes . . . we will do everything that we can to rectify those mistakes." Obviously, Condi was mistaken. The Bush administration does not make mistakes.
posted by insomnia_lj on Dec 6, 2005 - 54 comments

wmd intelligence

Curveball's motive, CIA officials said, was not to start a war. He simply was seeking a German visa.
You would think that there would be some serious repercussions for "mishandling" intelligence used to start a war.
Then again it's not like this is really news (dated 4/2004)
A different angle previously discussed here on Metafilter
posted by threehundredandsixty on Nov 20, 2005 - 12 comments

The London Cage

The London Cage. Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world. Between July 1940 and September 1948 three magnificent houses there were home to one of Great Britain'smost secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage. It was run by MI19, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London. The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. A number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948. More inside.
posted by matteo on Nov 12, 2005 - 12 comments

Parasitic Subway Projector

Parasitic Subway Projector: High concept German art students cram a Mac mini and a projector into a suitcase and mount it to the side of a subway car with suction cups. The resulting images, projected onto the tunnel walls, make for a fascinating work of public art. [QuickTime] Link via: The Unofficial Mac Weblog
posted by aladfar on Nov 5, 2005 - 61 comments

Benny's Postcards

Benny's Postcards "is devoted to the postcards my grandfather collected from approximately 1906-1918. The collection is comprised of 435 postcards, most of which were produced in Russia, Poland and Germany." [coral cache]
posted by strikhedonia on Nov 3, 2005 - 5 comments

Sophie Scholl

Sophie Scholl, a member of the White Rose, was beheaded in 1943. Her crime? Being brutally honest with a brutal regime. Her punishment was death. It's now a film, Sophie Scholl, the Last Days. I'm looking forward to seeing this. Finally Germany is showing great films.
posted by movilla on Oct 29, 2005 - 26 comments

16 hours

Where'd the remaining 27% go. Researchers in Germany have finished a survey that tells them how people spend their time. With an average life-span of 78 years most time is spent sleeping with the least time spent making new people. Number crunching this research [direct image link] reveals: So where does the rest of the time go.
posted by Schroder on Oct 23, 2005 - 23 comments

I just love how the baby peers out.

How Babies are Made in Germany. A book for children. (Possibly NSFW.)
posted by thebabelfish on Oct 23, 2005 - 56 comments

Pobediteli: Soldiers of the Great War.

Pobediteli: Soldiers of the Great War. In this year of the 60 Anniversary of the Victory we wish to personally thank the soldiers of the Great War living among us, and tell the story of their heroism.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Oct 18, 2005 - 9 comments

Deutschland 1929

Beautiful Gallery (Google Cache) of b & w photos of Germany from 1929. The shots look like something out of a fairy tale, or a Jean Cocteau film. Here are some favorites. Compare to this (all to brief) flickr gallery of photos from about 15 years later, during WWII.
posted by jonson on Sep 9, 2005 - 19 comments

A German in Los Angeles

A German in Los Angeles. (link in english) Stern is running a series on a German immigrant's experience of moving to Los Angeles and the various cultural differences he's experienced, including getting cable (en) and a driver's license (en), buying a car (en) and being homesick (en), and the American love for iced drinks (en). Really interesting cultural perspective.
posted by fet on Aug 30, 2005 - 23 comments

Algy the Piccadilly Johnny

Glassy eyes. The German art of glass eye blowing was developed in Lauscha, Germany in 1835 using cryolite glass. It's a dying art, Australia has only one practitioner in the country. This slow loading but fascinating video [sorry, Windows media] shows the process (apparently in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea). With a family history in the trade and a pioneer in contact lens development, this man's daughter feels that her father is in need of a bit of recognition.
posted by tellurian on Aug 22, 2005 - 12 comments

Winnetou und Shatterhand

Unless you are German you may not have heard of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, characters created by Karl May. A possible D.I.D. sufferer, he had never set foot in America and began to write his Wild West stories whilst in jail. Popular with readers across Europe, his books have been translated into over thirty different languages. Spaghetti Westerns partly came about because early 60s films [test your knowledge] based on his books, inspired Italian producers to invest in Westerns. His life story was made part of Syberberg's trilogy in 1974.
posted by tellurian on Aug 9, 2005 - 26 comments

Wikimania

Wikimania begins on wednesday (in Germany). Unless you're there, you won't be able to hear the presentations on getting wikipedia into africa, a timeline with all of human history on it, or the intersect of art and science, but the media competion nominees are online. Check out the animations.
posted by Tlogmer on Aug 2, 2005 - 9 comments

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